Black Friday: A holiday mix of strong retail sales and climate change strikes

Black Friday 2019 was a success for retail sales despite the gloom and doom being promoted by climate alarmists both in the United States and around the world. The early shoppers on Thanksgiving Day racked up a total of $4.2 billion in online sales. 2019 is the first year that online sales exceeded $4 billion on Thanksgiving Day. Sales were up 14.5% online over 2018 on that day.

Total sales for online purchases were on track to total $7.4 billion on Friday, the traditional day of bargain shopping. Brick and mortar retail stores offered deals to compete with the growing trend of shopping in the comfort of home. Strong sales numbers are credited to a strong job market, a booming stock market, and consumer optimism. Climate alarmists are here to harsh our buzz.

Black Friday is a bad thing in the eyes of those convinced that life as we know it will be over in a short 10 to 12 years. Greta Thunberg is credited with inspiring climate strikes in the U.S. and across the globe to protest consumerism. She encouraged everyone to join in the strikes, though she is at sea somewhere traveling to a conference or something. She is particularly pleased that the EU Parliament has declared a climate emergency. The European Parliament wanted to do that just days before the U.N. climate conference in Madrid, which is where I assume young Greta is headed.

Intended to demonstrate Europe’s green credentials days before a crucial UN climate conference in Madrid, the vote also ratchets up pressure on Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming president of the European commission, who declared this week that the EU would lead the fight against “the existential threat” of the climate crisis.

Although passed with a comfortable majority, with 429 votes in favour, 225 votes against and 19 abstentions – MEPs across the political spectrum warned against making symbolic gestures.

Environmental campaigners said the declaration was not backed by sufficient action. “Our house is on fire. The European parliament has seen the blaze, but it’s not enough to stand by and watch,” said Greenpeace’s EU climate policy adviser, Sebastian Mang, shortly before the vote.

Of course, this grand gesture by our betters in Europe came with a slap to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. Blame the French.

Pascal Canfin, the French liberal MEP who drafted the climate emergency resolution, said: “The fact that Europe is the first continent to declare climate and environmental emergency, just before COP25, when the new commission takes office, and three weeks after Donald Trump confirmed the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris agreement, is a strong message sent to citizens and the rest of the world.”

A Spanish cardinal denounced the spread of Black Friday to European countries. Argentine layman Tomas Insua, the executive director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement said a march was held in Assisi. Cardinal Juan Jose Omella of Barcelona denounced Black Fridays because, for the poor, every day is “Black Friday, dark days.”

In New York City, shoppers were disrupted by sit-ins or lay-ins by Extinction Rebellion NYC.

In Germany, shoppers mostly ignored the protesters and went on with their day. “I don’t care about the protests,” said pensioner Harry Pomerenke, 66, who had come with his wife to purchase Christmas gifts. While the argument can be made by the alarmists that mass consumption of goods across the world contributes to carbon emissions, a counter argument can be made that retail sales help families stretch their budgets to allow for gift purchases. It’s all well and good for a seventeen year old to lecture on what he or she sees as excessive consumerism but to middle and lower class parents and grandparents, sales are appreciated. Extremism touted by the environmental scolds is simply brushed off and ignored by everyday shoppers.

Prominent climate activist Luisa Neubauer joined scores of protesters in central Berlin on Friday to advocate more environmentally conscious shopping behavior, without “goods produced on the other side of the planet and shipped three times around,” she said. Meanwhile, in Rome, like-minded protesters carried signs that read “Green Friday,” with the word “Black” crossed out.

In France, there were protests against Amazon and its reach into European consumerism. On Monday, a French legislative committee proposed a ban on Black Friday altogether. France’s e-commerce union, though, condemns that idea, as you would expect. Protesters demonstrated against Amazon at a warehouse in Bretigny-sur Orge on Thursday. By Friday, climate activists were blocking entrances to shops.

“We criticize Amazon for having a destructive policy for the planet, for social conditions, and Black Friday allows this company to achieve exponential revenue,” Sandy Olivar Calvo, a spokeswoman for one of the activist groups, told France’s Le Monde newspaper.

What is lost on the climate extremists is that disruptive protests – the ones that block traffic or deny entrance to a shop – are not winning hearts and minds of skeptics. All it does is anger regular people going about their daily lives. Normal routines can get hectic enough without additonal disruptions. In the United States, greenhouse gases are being reduced and enforcement of environmental laws are in place. At the same time, the U.S. economy is strong. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.

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